Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Three levels of autonomy in Castoriadis's thought?

CC's thought on the revolutionary project, psychoanalysis and philosophy seems to indicate three levels of, or ways to conceive of, autonomy. The first concerns self-management, the third concerns full consciousness about the relationship between the instituting and the instituted, or between ontological chaos and (radically created) meaning. But what can be said of psychoanalytical autonomy? Surely, Castoriadis's practice as a psychoanalyst must have had something to do with guiding patients towards autonomy in some sense? Was this a less demanding goal than the philosophical one? After all, full awareness of the meaninglessness of Being seems like a goal reserved for the few (the philosophers)?

Ingerid Straume, PhD student


At 7:12 PM, Anonymous Ditto said...

A passage in an unpublished text, written by a knowledgeable colleague suggests that psychoanalytial and philosophical autonomy is one and the same: Men det medvetna subjektet, sett som social individ, kan också förvandla sig till en autonom individ, genom att upprätta en reflekterande och överläggande relation till både sina subjektiva och samhällets kollektiva fantasmer, en relation som öppnar möjligheterna för en viljestyrd transformering och förändring av tidigare fantasmer, för ständigt skapande av nya fantasmer och för fria val mellan dem. Subjektet blir inte mindre trasigt för det (snarare tvärtom, ty autonomin förutsätter erkännandet av livets ontologiska meningslöshet), men antagligen håller det sig flytande av egen kraft. Men denna subjektets förvandling förutsätter medel som kan uppstå endast på den socialhistoriska nivån.

Västvärlden uppstod, enligt Castoriadis, inom och genom en central imaginär betydelse, som utgör dess socialhistoriska drivkraft, nämligen betydelsen frihet, formad som ett projekt för individuell och kollektiv autonomi. Han närmar sig därmed psykoanalysen, men också pedagogiken och politiken utifrån detta västvärldens politiska projekt. Psykoanalysens uppgift är att stödja individen i dennes försök att utveckla en reflekterande och överläggande relation till sitt omedvetna (subjektiva fantasmer). Pedagogikens uppgift, å andra sidan, är att stödja individen utveckla samma relation till sitt samhälles imaginära betydelse, dvs., till den värld av mening (kollektiva fantasmer) som håller samhället samman. På så sätt främjar psykoanalysen och pedagogiken den individuella autonomin. Politikens uppgift, slutligen, är att instituera de lagar som möjliggör och underlättar denna strävan för individuell autonomi, som också nödvändigtvis är en strävan för kollektiv autonomi. (Unpublished text, author's permission pending)

At 5:09 AM, Blogger suzi said...

hi ingerid!

i can't read the first comment to your posting, so apologies if i'm repeating anything or do not take those arguments into account. my comment is not so much a direct response to your posting as an indirect response and deepening of the problematic. so... two brief comments about philosophical autonomy: in addition to the levels you mention (what was the second?)i would suggest that explicit interrogation/ problematization of the world is a further fundamental feature of the philosphical aspect of autonomy. i think this does overlap with the psychoanalytical in the sense that the psychoanalytical project is directed towards the creation of the autonomous subject, as opposed to the maintenance of the (presumably heteronomous) social individual, itself directly connected to the political project of the autonomous society. in this sense,the active problematization as questioning of self and society would seem one of its intrinsic moments. also, both philosophy and psychoanalysis in their interrogative moments are aimed at effecting change, so there is overlap there, too. so i for one do not think that the philosophical aspect of autonomy is only for the 'few' philosophers: putting the world into question is political engagement that we all undertake.

i have a response to your final statement/ question: instead of the 'meaninglessness of being' i would argue - in thinking of cc's vision of being as the intertwining of chaos and kosmos - that the world is an order which always invites meaning. ie, similar to cc's critique of kant , i would suggest that the world is neither completely meaningless nor imbued with an immanent order of meaning. rather it is Sinnfaehig.

it's really great that you've organized the cc blog!

At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Ingerid S. said...

Thank you so much for that, Suzi! I think you've answered my problem, or guided me in the right direction - I have to work on this before I know for sure. I interpret your comment to indicate, simply put, that individual subjects - persons - are not necessarily requested to phenomenologically embrace the idea of Chaos, ontological meaninglessness? My notion was that if this was a requirement for autonomy - still talking on the personal level - I just think CC's autonomy ideal is too taxing on ordinary people, and for most practical purposes.

Please tell me if you could read this comment! Still working on the technical side of blogging. Thanks!

At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Ingerid S. said...

PS: The three levels of autonomy that I proposed to discuss were. 1) the revolutionary project and the idea of self-management and -organization, 2) psychoanalysis and personal autonomy, if such a level exists in CC's thought, and 3) philosophy and philosophical autonomy. I think my problem pertains to the problem raised by Andreas Kalyvas in Cerisy (2003), that the first type has a concept of power which the third lacks (and thus is reduced to false vs. right consciousness only, where heteronomy is false consciousness and power qua self-organization is left out). But again, I need to chew on Suzi's comment.


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